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No Way Out
by Melanie Jackson
$9.95 CDN
ISBN 978-0-9813164-4-4

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About the Book

Sam Jellicoe, 15, didn't want to visit his mom in Winnipeg. He can't stand her flashy, boastful new husband Alvin. Sam would have way preferred to stay in Vancouver with his actor buddies. To escape Alvin – and the stifling prairie heat – Sam goes into Rafferty's Department Store on Portage Avenue. There he finds his problems are just beginning: a gunman takes him and several other people hostage. To find a way out, Sam must draw on his wits and his acting skills, and above all, keep his cool.

About the Author

Scottish-born and mystery-minded, Melanie Jackson is the author of award-winning intermediate and young-adult suspensers. Melanie is also a business/advertising writer and editor; and free-lance business writer/book reviewer for the Vancouver Sun. Other journalism/corporate writing/editing experience includes: BC Ministry of Education, BC School Superintendents Association, BC School Trustees Association, Chatelaine, Georgia Straight, Gold Seal children's website, MacMillan Bloedel, Make It Business, Ontario Ministry of Labour, Toronto Life, Toronto Star, Vancouver magazine, Vancouver Sun, Western Living, Toronto Life Fashion.

Melanie volunteers as a creative writing mentor with the Vancouver School Board. She is proud to be a member of First Book Canada's Vancouver Advisory Board.

Recent Reviews

2.5 / 4 stars - Recommended


Mr. Rafferty and the custodian stared at me. My face burned. I slammed the wallet down on the nearest cashier counter.

The guard crammed the wallet into his back pocket. “Nice try, buddy.” “I was handing it in,” I objected. “And maybe, buddy, you should watch where you leave it.”

Before I realized what was happening, he’d yanked my own wallet out of my jeans back pocket. Flipping it open, he scanned my I.D. “Our thief is Sam Jellicoe. From Vancouver.”

The guard spat out the last word, as if Vancouver was some kind of cesspool. I wanted to punch the sneer off his face. But that would get me into genuine trouble. Right now this was all a stupid misunderstanding.

How boring! Fifteen-year-old Sam Jellicoe has to spend the entire summer with his mom and stepfather in Winnipeg. When Sam tries to escape the prairie heat and his own boredom, he decides to spend some time in Rafferty’s Department Store. As he enters, he finds a wallet on the floor. Suddenly, the lights go off. Sam tries to return the wallet just as all the customers are asked to leave the store, but he is accused of theft by a security guard who is also the owner’s son. Locked in the main office waiting for the police to show up, Sam is shocked to hear that the store has been taken over by a thief who kills the custodian. The murderer then threatens the owner, his security guard son, and a salesgirl. They are the only ones in the store - except for Sam!

Sam uses his ingenuity to escape the murderous thief and overpower him. He is helped by the salesgirl who is determined to survive as well. As the two work together, they confront several questions: Where are the safest escape routes? How did the thief know so much about the store? Could there be an insider helping him?

Known for her “Dinah Galloway” mystery series, Melanie Jackson introduces a new teenage hero, Sam Jellicoe, who is bright and resourceful. He is also honest. He decides to give back the wallet thinking that he could possibly get a reward for his efforts which he will then give to the improve group in his high school in Vancouver. When faced with a dangerous situation, he shows readers that he is also courageous and intuitive. He finds a path through the department store via the ceiling tiles. He also concludes that the actions of Rafferty’s son are very suspicious. This mystery is action-packed and fast moving. However, the eventual solution to the mystery is a bit far-fetched! The accessible vocabulary and short chapters will make No Way Out a good choice for any readers interested in mystery.

Reviewer: Myra Junyk, CM Magazine
Myra Junyk, who lives in Toronto, ON, is a literacy advocate and author.